Firefox 3 beta 4 is ridiculously fast

After reading a couple of articles about the latest development nighly build of Firefox 3 beta for Mac Os X Leopard. I thought I should give beta-4 a try – I had already been running beta-3. Blimey! When you experience software running this fast you can’t help thinking: what else could have been done much better that isn’t yet? I’ve been in this industry for 17 years now and I keep wondering how much waste there is. Looking around you at whatever IT project you’re involved in or software you must be running or building, there’s got to be an unlimited amount of waste around. So IT Waste Recycling has got to be the business with the most growth potential for years to come. Never mind mobile internet which is already over-crowded thanks to Google Android and Apple’s iPhonecar hire bulgariamebeli. I know I’m making a bit of a leap here, but I’m quite sure it’s not far from the truth.

Silver bullets do exist, you just have to find yours. Wait…

UPDATE: I was just kidding, in case anyone didn’t notice. If you’re here for the first time then I’m trying to be cynical.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing that you see very clearly when looking back at some events. Most of the time you wish the hindsight were actually insights, i.e. you knew about something before you got to where you are as you reflect on things. This tends to be a problem, something that often tastes like a regret. Hindsight is one of the characteristics of Silver Bullets. Silver Bullets can be found everywhere if you looked carefully and with the right timing.

Where do you find Silver Bullets? How do you recognise any if you saw one?

I obviously won’t give away the precious answers just like that. Let me give a few general tips though. I’ll leave it up to you to do the rest of the work.

A silver bullet:

  • is a proven best practice, best in class solution that is particularly well suited to your very specific needs
  • gives your organisation a unique competitive advantage over the rest, despite being a proven best practice
  • is very cost-effective, it solves your business puzzles and challenges without creating new ones
  • makes all your stakeholder groups very happy while only requiring negligible compromises
  • powers the specific business model you have selected without any further consequences to you
  • helps decision makers’ career: nobody ever loses his/her job because of a silver bullet, on the contrary you get praises for your foresight and imaginative approach to solving business problems.

If you’ve been reading, this should be enough clues to get you started in finding the specific Silver Bullets that befits your organisation.

Comparing Apples to Apples

If you’ve been a technology consultant you’ve surely heard this expression at least once. A lot of times it’s just a cliche, a filler, but sometimes it literally makes sense. Cliches are boring.

I came to adopting Apple Inc’s Mac products by comparing current Macs with Macs of before (pre- OS X), I wouldn’t touch the former due to cost and mainly because they were closed systems. Since Mac OS X came out I’ve been checking out every once in a while, I finally took the plunge last year and never looked back.

If you know what you’re doing, good products will dramatically improve your productivity. If you’re not so sure of what you’re doing, then Apple compatible products are better at helping you than their Windows equivalents. Ever seen a friend or family stuck win an unresponsive Windows PC? For someone who’s been building and tuning PCs and networks throughout the DOS 5.x and Windows 3.x / Windows for Workgroups and Novell Netware 2.x days, knowledgeable with Windows registry I could still regularly get frustrated asking myself “what the heck is this PC doing? what am I having to wait for…?”. Not anymore since I moved to Mac OS X Tiger (using Linux and Solaris servers).

If you like beautifully designed products then you’re literally smitten by Apple products. Obviously Apple’s products have their issues too, but when comparing apples to apples it’s plain to see that the experience on Macs is better than Windows.

The same thing can be said about popular Linux distributions, Ubuntu is a fantastic example of that. To really appreciate Linux maturity you have to have toyed with some distributions throughout the years, unlike before when you had to search for network and display drivers and fight module dependencies to make your system work, nowadays you can “just install Ubuntu” and start using it right away – in most cases 😉

I have been using Linux for many years and seeing the pace of improvement in 2002 I became convinced that their maturity would outpace that of other established OSses fairly quickly. As ever the hype made that rosier than was possible, but many Linux distributions are really good today.

One thing remain on the sad end of things: interoperability. It’s sickening to still see vendors perpetuate the bad practice of closing their document and database formats, I think not providing an “transportable export” mechanism should be strongly discouraged with some form of market driven coercion. Market dominance should be sought on quality, price or other unique value propositions. Locking down the consumer with non-transportable formats is simply unfair. This is why I can understand authorities demanding that Apple opens up their FairPlay DRM platform. DRM is ok if it’s open and transportable to any platform.

IT is a commodity today, nearly every walk of life depend on it and I think Consumer Associations should turn their attention to the grander issue of “all electronic documents should portable”. Open Document Format (ODF) was a good thing, but why stop there? Email, calendaring, Instant Messaging and Address Books should be covered too, these are documents in their own right and convey critical business information. I know about XMPP, CalDAV and other vCard and vCalendar initiatives. But my point here is that these latter specifications are not pushed as hard as ODF was, I think they ought to be. You don’t want

Microsoft comes alive! Hailstorm 2.0

The Seattle giant is at it again, this is Bill Gates’ rallying call for action. Last time this happened, it was the web browser war and everybody know the outcome. This time round, Steve Ballmer is at the helm though the venerable Chief Architect is certainly a lot more than a back-seat driver. He has risen to a new level. Many years ago, as Microsoft had clearly established itself as the undisputed platform leader, I watched a TV interview of Bill Gates saying that noone could say that they [Microsoft] don’t know how to do business. I think this still holds true. Read the Wired News article: Wired News: Gates Feeling a Little Seasick

IT Conversations: Ethan Zuckerman – New Solutions

Ethan Zuckerman on peer production, solutions to developing world IT problems

If you are interested in innovative solutions to developing world IT problems, then you would like to hear the thoughts of this visionary guy.

The article linked here is a bit dated, October 2004, but it’s an interesting talk: IT Conversations: Ethan Zuckerman – New Solutions

Impressive AJAX application demo, Web OS is really close

Zimbra collaboration application nicely showcases how the AJAX concepts can be put to good use, well done.

AJAX is the hype of the moment, though the core concepts have been around for years. Come to think of it, what is really happening is that peope are warming up to the ideas. We are starting to see some nice applications popping up. Zimbra is a case in point, it looks neat.

The idea of a Google OS suddenly start to make sense to me. Here is my fantasy web OS terminal:

  • It’s architectured around an iPod-like device running Linux
  • It has built-in wireless capability
  • On-chip Firefox browser
  • Touch-screen interface, powered by Google Suggest
  • I can podcast using the built-in microphone
  • The built-in camera is handy in so many ways

Exciting times indeed, also unnerving for many an outfit.